A Tampa Bay Lightning player has become the first National Hockey League athlete to partake in the national anthem protest, according to Complex.
Before Sunday’s game against the Florida Panthers, Lightning right wing Joshua Thomas “J.T.” Brown raised his fist as he stood during the anthem. MSN reports Brown also raised a fist during a preseason game.
Brown’s gesture comes weeks after Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protest resurfaced into the limelight. On Sept. 22, President Donald Trump indirectly referred to Kaepernick as a “son of a b**tch” for his decision not to stand during the anthem. Following Trump’s comment, the NFL kneeled in a unified demonstration of defiance against the president.
While Brown didn’t take a knee as his NFL counterparts have in the past weeks, his Black power salute followed in the footsteps of Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
After the two athletes won the 200-meter sprint during the 1968 Berlin Olympics, they raised their fist on the winners’ podiums to condemn racial injustice.
The NFL athletes’ recent rebellion was more of a testament to their right to free speech in response to the president’s remarks. But the bold Lightning right winger’s salute was a reminder of the anthem protest’s original purpose of denouncing the killings of Black men.
On Sunday, Brown wrote a note on Twitter clarifying the motives behind his actions—reiterating one time for overzealous lovers of the American flag that he was not disrespecting the red, white and blue.
He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the post.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-Martin Luther King Jr. pic.twitter.com/Ql2vEFwl5E
— JT Brown (@JTBrown23) October 8, 2017